Frank Lampard‘s penalty opened the scoring in a first half which also saw Benfica captain Maxi Pereira dismissed. The visitors piled on the pressure and Javi Garcia’s 85th-minute equaliser set up a tense finish, but substitute Raul Meireles slammed home on the break to seal a win with a 3-1 on aggregate.
“We still have unfinished business with European champions Barcelona” -Frank Lampard
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After a slow start, Chelsea were gifted a penalty midway through the first half. Ashley Cole beat Garcia to a long ball forward by Terry and went down after a shoulder challenge from the Benfica man, Skomina immediately pointing to the spot and booked Perreira and Bruno Cesar for protesting. Artur got a hand to Lampard’s penalty but was not enough to keep it out. the dull first-half nearly ended when Ramires picked up the seventh first-half caution within the first 45 minutes. The second half started very aggressively. Petr Cech saved from Cardozo’s first-time shot kept Chelsea ahead. Chelsea was looking to kill the game in the 50th mnute when Salomon Kalou’ shot lacked the power to find its way into the net and Ramires failed to push the ball into the open net. Soon, Emerson got a block on Torres’ finish by the rejuvenated striker, who then flicked a rebound wide after Artur saved from Mata. Terry was later substituted for Gary Cahill because he was injured as his ribs are said to be broken. Torres was afforded another chance, his shot deflected wide before Kalou, through on goal, fired straight at the goalkeeper and, then, with another opportunity, he swivelled and drove the ball wide. Gary Cahill completely failed to provide the sort of defensive solidarity that Chelsea needed, and it came as no surprise when Benfica finally managed to get a goal. The way in which they scored, however, was slightly odd. David Luiz completely failed to pick up Javi Garcia on a corner kick and Petr Cech inexplicably did nothing about a delivery that was essentially hit right at him, allowing the makeshift defender to nod in from close range to make the match incredibly stressful. With six minutes plus stoppage time left, the substitute Raul Meireles, killed the game when Cole headed from Benfica’ free-kick reached Meireles and unlwashed a shot which was unstopable! His superb shot from 12 yards went past Artur and was enough to win the game in fashon with a score of 3-1 in aggregate.
And now for Barcelona. Chelsea advance into the semi-finals of the Champions League for the 6th time in nine years and, once again, will meet their old nemesis -Barcelona first at Stamford Bridge on 18th April and return leg on 24th April.
“It will be exciting to play two games against probably one of the best teams in the world” -Di Matteo
THE HISTORY AGAINST BARCELONA IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE:
.2008-09, semi-final .2006-07, group stage .2005-06, last 16
Barca 0-0 Chelsea Chelsea 1-0 Barca Chelsea 1-2 Barca
Chelsea 1-1 Barca Barca 2-2 Chelsea Barca 1-1 Chelsea
.2004-05, last 16 .1999-2000, quarter-final
Barca 2-1 Chelsea Chelsea 3-1 Barca
Chelsea 4-2 Barca Barca 5-1 Chelsea
John Terry is in danger of missing a chunk of the remainder of Chelsea’s season amid fears he has broken ribs. A scan will be done on Thursday and if it is confirmed that he has broken ribs, Chelsea will likely be shorn of his services for some time. “He got a knock on his rib and that’s why we had to take him off,” blues boss Roberto Di Matteo said. “We’ll assess him tomorrow and see how he is. We hope that he is going to be okay.” Chelsea are fighting on three fronts, with the Champions League, FA Cup and fourth place in the Premier League up for grabs.
HD MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:
- David Luiz now a cornerstone of Chelsea’s future (telegraph.co.uk)
- Chelsea 2 Benfica 1 (3-1 agg): Lampard And Meireles set Up Barcelona Showdown (kayceeweezy.wordpress.com)
- Chelsea set up date with Barcelona (teddyoshea.wordpress.com)
- Improvement!!!!! Its Benfica 0 Chelsea 1 (chelseanewsletter.wordpress.com)
- Nerve-racking for Chelsea, easy for Real (vivaafricasports.wordpress.com)